Will your homeowners insurance policy cover building code upgrades?
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Sometimes referred to as “law and ordinance coverage,” this additional endorsement to your homeowners insurance policies protects you in case local law or building codes require updates to your property. Though it is commonly a part of commercial property coverage, it is also an important part of homeowners insurance.
Read on to find out more about how this coverage can help bring your home up to code after a covered loss.
Ordinance or law insurance coverage pays for the additional costs associated with upgrading your primary dwelling or other structures to comply with local building codes or ordinances. Usually, these building upgrades must be implemented after a partial or total loss to your property caused by a covered peril. This is especially true if you own an older home. Standard homeowners policies don’t often cover such upgrades. As such, without this added coverage, you would be on the line for the extra costs associated with bringing your home up to code.
Building code changes usually have to do with construction practices and the materials in building your home. Plumbing and the electrical wiring systems commonly require upgrades. States and municipalities update building regulations for a number of reasons, be it for safety or environmental purposes. If you live in a state prone to earthquakes, windstorms or hurricanes, your area may adopt building practices to ensure homes are better able to withstand such events.
As long as your homeowners insurance company considers damages to be a covered loss, the increase in cost to help you comply with local ordinances will be covered by ordinance or law coverage.
This added insurance coverage covers the cost of getting your home in alignment with current building codes. Before rebuilding or repairing your home after a covered loss, your city or state may require upgrades. These upgrades can cost significantly more than the limit for your replacement cost listed on your homeowners policy.
Ordinance or law coverage steps in to help pay for these upgrades through the following means:
The cost of ordinance or law coverage is relatively reasonable, averaging $66 extra per year for $40,000 worth of coverage. Keep in mind, however, that these rates can vary depending on where you live. Below is a breakdown of the average yearly cost by homeowners insurance carrier for a variety of coverage levels.
|Insurance Provider||Average Premium (No coverage)||$10,000 Limit||$20,000 Limit||$30,000 Limit||$40,000 Limit|
Like all types of insurance, ordinance or law coverage can be incredibly helpful in situations that you don’t see coming. If you own an older home, this coverage add-on can be a wise choice, as code upgrades can be costly. Consult your insurance company to see if this coverage is available and if it could be a good option for you.
However, if you are worried about the potential costs law and ordinance coverage could add to your homeowners policy, you may want to consider shopping around. The Zebra allows you to compare homeowners quotes side by side to find an insurance policy to suit your needs.
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.